After hijacker D.B. Cooper jumped (most likely near Ariel, WA) on November 24, 1971 it was a little more than six years before any evidence surfaced. An instructional placard showing how to open the aft airstairs was found in what was described as ‘a heavily-forested area six flying minutes north of Ariel’. The placard was discovered in early 1978 by Carroll Hicks of Kelso, Washington State, while he was out hunting.
The location of the found placard has been researched pretty heavily and is well-known. The placard was turned over to police afterward, and its location on the ground was used to help confirm the flight path of the hijacked airliner.
For GPS users, the exact coordinates are:
An embedded, interactive Google map is shown below. To begin, click on ‘View Larger Map’. Then select ‘Satellite View’ and the 3-D option for best results. Zooming in or out also helps. When using 3-D, hold down your CNTL button while moving your mouse to adjust the terrain view for best results.
Adventure Books of Seattle, who have been involved in an ongoing investigation regarding the Cooper case, believes there could be additional evidence in the same area. These include the briefcase used by Cooper, the non-working reserve chute still in its container, and other items. They were not on the plane when it landed in Reno, and have never been found. It is our belief that Cooper ripped the placard free from the airstairs, and then tossed it (along with the other items) out the back of the jet before he jumped. This was likely done in an effort to throw off any ground search for him later.